Usli Ghee

						Makes about 1 quart


	2 lbs unsalted butter


	Prelude: the point in making usli ghee is threefold.

		i)   Separate out the butterfat (a collection of triglcerides)
		     from the milk solids.

		ii)  Roast the milk solids in the fat, thereby intensifying
		     the "butter flavor", making it nutlike or "superbutter"
		     as my other calls it.

		iii) Remove from the end result all the water that is
		     in the butter to begin with.

		This procedure should take about 1 hour.

	1.  Put the butter in a heavy bottomed, 2-3 qt. sauce pan over
	    medium-high heat until the butter melts.
	    [Do not ever use original (pyroceram) Corning ware for this.
	     Trust me.]

	2.  Allow the butter to begin boiling.  It is going to behave
	    a bit like molten lava, with erruptions, and a "spatter
	    guard" is a very good thing to use for this.  The boiling
	    will suddenly turn to frothing - and at this point you are
	    in DANGER of having the hot butter froth up and over the
	    the pot, come in contact with the heat source and catch fire,
	    one that will be in need of a fire extinguisher.

	    This needs watching.

	3.  At the first clear sign of froth coming up in the pot, remove
	    the pot from the heat source and it will subside.  Stir with
	    a wooden spoon, if necessary.

	4.  Lower the heat to a simmer level, and return to the pot to
	    the heat.  You will need to find a way to adjust the heat
	    so that there will be no frothing, but that there will be
	    a "simmering". Think of it with a much longer time scale
	    than simmering with water would be.  The occasional
	    erruption will be controlled by a spatter guard over the

	    Do not even think about using a pot lid.  That will not
	    only thwart the evaporation of the water, but with the
	    condenstion falling back into the very hot oil, there can
	    can also be other very unpleasant reactions involving
	    extensive spattering.

	5.  The butter will begin to smell nutlike after a while and
	    turn an enticing deep golden color.  You want this "low"
	    temperature which is enough to roast the milk solids, and
	    to evaporate the water, but not enough to cause any great
	    disturbances in the butter fat globally.

	    The fat, being globally quiescent, with minor disturbances
	    will allow and induce most of the milk solids to gravitate
	    to the bottom of the pan and a little on the surface of
	    the fat.

	    Don't do any stirring of the fat once the roasting period
	    has begun with this separating.

	    Keep a close watch on the ghee, as the milk solids can burn
	    easily and suddenly, going from the desired brown to burnt.

	    The actual roasting period will be shorter for a higher
	    temperature, but you are courting disaster by cranking
	    the heat up too high.  Moderation is the key.

            You can use the wooden spoon to move away any of the foam
	    on the surface in order to see if the milk solids are roasted.
	    This a color cue that is difficult to describe except to say
	    that the solid will at first appear as white filtered through
	    the yellow fat.  When you guess that it is golden filtered
	    through the yellow fat, you are finished.

	    There is a trade off going on here as to when the pot is
	    physically removed from the heat source.  The butterfat
	    has a high specific heat and so the milk solids will continue
	    cooking in it for quite a while after you take the heat
	    source from it.  On the other hand the better roasted the
	    milk solids, the more flavorful will be the ghee.

	    If you see that maybe you have reached a critical point
	    in milk solid browning, remove from heat and put the pot
	    in a cold water bath, e.g. in the sink.  I do this sometimes
	    when time is short anyhow.  But don't let it cool too much.
	    The bottom of the pan should be, after taking it from the
	    cold water, only cool enough so that the fingers can be
	    held on it without feeling burned.  The ghee should then
	    be about 185°F.

	    Cooling too much will cause the fat to begin to solidify
	    and make the straining problematic.  You can see the point
	    of too much cooling when the otherwise clear fat starts
	    to become cloudy; it is starting to solidify.

	6.  Now, after passing this test of pot temperature, decant
	    the pot's contents slowly and gently (safely in a sink)
	    decant and strain using your finest mesh tea strainer
	    into a quart plastic or glass or ceramic container.

	    Cover and refrigerate.

	    It will keep indefinitely, and be harder than butter when
	    refrigerated.  Some say it doesn't even need to be
	    kept refrigerated.  I figure, oils do tend to go rancid
	    and refrigeration slows this process down, ergo, do it.


	0. Words and meanings:
	   We are making "usli ghee", in Hindi, "pure ghee".  Without
	   this qualification, the ordinary word "ghee" refers to any
	   cooking oil, or to amy combination of them in Hindi.

	   Brits and most of their relatives mean by the word simply
	   clarified butter.  USsians, however, are mostly ignorant of
	   the word, or possibly know only the British usage, but have
	   no idea of the real substance.

	1. Cooking with ghee: its flavor is a major recommendation,
	   and it is often used in the finishing touches to many Indian
	   dishes, as dark sesame oil is used as a finish in Chinese
	   dishes, and simply melted butter is used in French dishes.
	   But since all the burnable solids have been removed it can
	   also be used in extremely high temperature cooking.

	   However, at very high temperatures, the flavoring is mostly
	   lost and you will see that its golden color is lost as well:
	   the ghee will become as clear and as uncolored as water.

	2. The use of ghee has all sorts of ayurvedic recommendations.
	   Personally, I think them mostly scientific nonsense, but,
	   as for example, a base for ointments, there is nothing
	   wrong with it.

	3. I have heard something about care that bacteria will grow
	   in your ghee - bull patties!  They don't even grow in your
	   butter, which can quite safely be left for short periods
	   (weeks) at room temperature.

	4. I have also seen recipes for making ghee that add things
	   like cloves to it.  Morons!  Unless you want everything
	   flavored with cloves.

	5. Then there's the whole cholesterol hoax.  These people
	   need brain transplants, or a good education in biochemistry,
	   molecular biology, medical charlatanry and bad statistics.
	   Can we spell "vicious idiotic garbage"?

	6. Melted ghee is the best thing in the world to pour over
	   good popcorn, or pop the corn in a popcorn maker that will
	   not burn things.  Orville would smile.

	7. Think about the effect of the oil in the dish you are
	   making.  In some cases, the use of usli ghee would be
	   a waste.  Use soy oil if that is really the unequivocal
	   situation.  Think about altering the recipe so that a
	   finishing with usli ghee can be used, while the initial
	   oil (whose flavor will be lost anyhow) is something
	   less expensive.

	   You do not want to use usli ghee as a standard deep
	   frying oil.  Even profligate would not cover that idea.

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Created: June 23, 2007
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